Archives for May 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013 – Drive Home

Time to get a move on! We got up good and early, because we were quite concerned about meeting traffic coming up that narrow road (especially since it’s Friday), and were on the road by just after 8:00. Fortunately, we met no traffic, and the road didn’t seem quite so terrifying on the way back down the mountain, probably because we knew what we were in for, and because we were much more rested and therefore ready for any problems that might arise. It’s hard to think straight when you’re tired. Anyway, having gotten out so early, and since we would be gaining an hour by going into Central Time, we decided we had time to stop for a sit down breakfast, which we did at a Waffle place in the first town we came to (which happened to be conveniently located next to a liquor store, so Hubby ran in and replenished his brandy supply), before heading straight home, with just one quick stop at the Walmart in S. Pittsburg, TN, just an hour from home. Arrived by noon, thank goodness, and were pleasantly surprised that the place looked in pretty good shape. We had hired a guy to come in and mow the lawn periodically, and I had asked him to make sure the driveway was clear enough for the RV to get through, so we had no problems. Got the house opened up, threw all the dust covers in the washer, dragged the laundry and other essentials into the house, and relaxed as much as we could for the rest of the day. We had decided to give ourselves the 3-day weekend to fully recover (or as much as possibly could) before really going at it next week, when we’re wall to wall with Dr.’s appointments and chores. There are still some redecorating things I want to do on the new RV, and there’s lots of old stuff to transfer out, so we’ve got our work cut our for us while we’re home. Fortunately, we didn’t hear any shooting, so it was nice and quiet all evening. Discovered a leftover bottle of vodka, so cocktail hour started a little early today : -).

Thursday, May 23, 2013 – Rest Day

After our long and strenuous ride yesterday, everyone got the day off today. One thing for sure, we’ve been sleeping really well here, it’s so quiet and dark, just the way we like it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – Met the Neighbors and Had a Ride

Late yesterday afternoon, several vehicles came in and settled down on the other side of the campground. Eventually I wandered over to say hello, and to pick their brains on what the trails are like here, as the only map seems to indicate there’s only one very long trail, no real loops, so I’m hoping there’s a few more trails that aren’t on the map. It was a woman and her daughter, and we chatted awhile, and she gave me a bit of advice about the trails that seemed would be a little helpful. I’m always wary of asking locals, though, because what seems obvious to them isn’t always so obvious (correction, is NEVER as obvious) to someone not familiar with the area. I got the impression they came early in the hopes of securing the spot we had already secured, but I told her we were leaving Friday anyway, and they were welcome to it. They headed back to home after they set up, and Hubby and I saddled the horses and headed out. The beginning of the trail was just the end of the road that brought us to the campground, then, per our neighbor’s instructions, turn right, over the bridge, and started climbing up the mountain, and climbing, and climbing. The trail became more and more narrow, and eventually was little more than a stoney creekbed, and we STILL hadn’t reached the “Rim” trail! The neighbor had told me the whole trip would be only about 90 minutes, but we had already been going that long, and hadn’t even started on the back side of the loop. The trail got so bad, I became convinced we went wrong somewhere, and finally turned around and headed back. Once I compared my GPS with the trail map, we actually were going in the right direction, we just hadn’t gone far enough to reach the perimeter trail, which was actually fine with us! We’d going far enough. I remembered seeing a walking horse sign on the side of the neighbors trailer, and figured maybe it was 90 minutes with a gaited horse, but not with our old quarter/apps! It was so steep going up, and we were so grateful to be going down, we got home a lot faster, naturally. Cleaned everybody up and settled in for the evening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 – Rest and Sick Day

The sore throat I started getting over the weekend is working it’s way through my system in the regular pattern of a cold, the first time that’s happened in a long time. I’ve been taking Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus fizzy tablets every night, so I’ve been sleeping well, and last night was particularly good. So quiet here, no lights, and the quiet whooshing of the nearby creek provides just a little bit of white noise, like a small fan in the next room, and has provided both Hubby and I with just what we need, a lot of sleep. I spent most of the day in bed, reading and sleeping, which did a lot to improve my cold (and my humor, which has been pretty grumpy lately, undoubtedly because we’re so run-down from our busy schedule), and another relaxing evening will likely go a long way as well. Hoping we feel up to taking a short ride tomorrow.

Monday, May 20, 2013 – Harrowing Travel Day to Bristol Fields Horse Camp

Having left several messages with the National Forest Service, who has yet to return my calls, we packed up early and headed out to the Nantahala NF. We grabbed some breakfast at a Dunkin Donuts at lunchtime, stopped off to get fuel and at a Wal-mart to shop, before finally reaching someone at the NF who said that there was no longer water spigots at the horse camp. Not that they weren’t there, but that they had been shut off because of some new, ridiculous state law about how watered needed to be treated in order to avoid litigation. Unbelievable, they couldn’t just put up a sign say “non-potable” and leave it at that? We are getting so sick of the stupid laws designed for the sole purpose of litigation avoidance, meanwhile whole-heartedly infringing on our constitutional rights to the pursuit of happiness. Anyway, we had to stop twice more just to find someplace to pick up water, then had to drag 800 more pounds of weight up a mountain, which certainly burned more fuel, thus causing more carbon pollution, which the same stupid government keeps claiming it wants to reduce. Speaking of dragging up the mountain, as we got closer, there were numerous signs that the road was closed, and we were afraid we were going to get stuck someplace we couldn’t turned around, but then we finally reached where a bridge was out, and our turn off was just before the bridge. We then traveled six miles of the most harrowing, cliff-hugging, hair-raising, white knuckle dirt road driving we’ve ever done. With very few turnouts, we were delighted we didn’t run into any traffic on the way up, but are already concerned about the drive out, which could pose some serious problems, and certainly some scary moments. We finally arrived at the clearing that is the Bristol Fields Horse Camp. With six sites, it had tall posts with hooks for putting up a highline. With the several spigots turned off, we looked for a spot nearest the creek, which fortunately runs the length of the campground, albeit on the opposite side of where the campsites were, we finally decided on site 6, which was the furthest west site, and the only one on the right side of the driveway in. It’s a double site, and provided a good opportunity for us to “circle the wagons” and provide some privacy from the rest of the campground. There was one tent in another field beyond the horse camp area, which frankly surprised us, this place is so remote we didn’t think many other people would trek all this way, but not so. We didn’t see any people, just a tent. Having arrived much later than we had hoped, nearly 5:00, we hurried to get set up, led the horses down to the creek for a drink before putting them on the highline, got the satellite dish set up (another plus for site 6, though we had to stretch the cable quite a ways), and settled in for the evening. No cell service here, that’s for sure! Actually, it’s a beautiful spot, I hope the trails turn out to be pretty good, in order to make all the aggravation associated with getting here, and getting water, worth the trip.

Sunday, May 19, 2013 – Rainy Unexpected Rest Day

Our original plan had been to move on today, but it’s raining, and looks like it will continue to rain for the better part of the day, so we decided to wait until tomorrow when the weather would clear. We can certainly use the extra day anyway, trying to recoup. Another relatively relaxing day, thank goodness!

Saturday, May 18, 2013 – Rest Day

We had scheduled today as a rest day, so we did little but unpack, do laundry, watch TV and nap (well, Hubby go to nap while I did laundry), but we did get to bed early, really crashing hard after all our exertions of late.

Friday, May 17, 2013 – Fly back to Charlotte

Having deliberately scheduled a slightly later flight, we got up at our usual business schedule time (about 6:00 am), took our showers, got mostly packed, then I had a conference call with a potential client for about 20 minutes before going down to our last breakfast at the hotel. Before we knew it we were dropping off the rental car, shuttling the 15 minutes to the airport, going through security, and waiting for our departure, which, thankfully, was on time. Another delicious meal of pasta, salad and pita with hummus (though undoubtedly with WAY too much salt for Hubby, he’ll be complaining when he gets on the scale tomorrow), once again surprised at the inconsistency of first class service on USAir. Seems they all have their own ideas of what makes for good service, can’t say I was too impressed with this woman. Every other meal they didn’t try to cram the dessert on the tray, this one did, and it was hard to get around everything. Anyway, we got back pretty much on schedule, headed straight back to the farm, said our greetings to everyone, and because we were feeling exhausted, and it wasn’t too long before we were in bed!

Thursday, May 16, 2013 – Stable Search and Show Day

After three busy days, early mornings and full work schedule, we finally go to sleep in somewhat late, but still in time for breakfast at the hotel. We had an email from Hubby’s sister, who’s still in England, saying she’s finally got Skype, so we arranged to link up today, and all went well, despite how technically unsavvy she claims to be. She even managed to get the video going with just a tiny bit of instruction, I was very proud of her! We chatted for about 20 minutes, marveling at the ability to see each other while having a phone call, discussing all the usual family stuff before signing off before going off the breakfast. We decided to take a drive out today, to check out on possible boarding places for when we come back this way later this year. Since we missed Nevada on our earlier Western tour, it will likely be the last of our 48 state riding stops, and we figured we might be able to drum up some business at the same time, or at least have it be a stopover on our way south for the winter. We even suggested to Hubby’s sister that she might want to visit the U.S. again, and this would give her a completely different experience than her Florida and Tennessee visits. She said she would consider it, but she’s dealing with a bad knee at the moment, and it will depend on how well her recovery goes. Anyway, we visited three different stables, two of which are good possibilities, the third was a show barn that didn’t board anyone that wasn’t also in a “training program.” We’ll worry about that later when the time comes. We headed back to the hotel, then took a quick nap in the afternoon before heading out to dinner and a show. We had planned on going to an Indian restaurant in the Hawaiian market, but they were closed when we arrived, so we then opted to head to the Mirage (where the show was) and get a meal there. We ended up at BLT burgers, but true to form, neither of us had a true beef burger. Hubby had a salmon sandwich, and I had a lamb tandoori, which was essentially lamb meat ground and shaped into a burger, still on a bun, but with a mint/coriander topping. Both were quite nice, actually, so it was a good choice, along with a stout and ale. Next to us was a couple of guys from England who had just arrived for a blowout weekend, and we chatted for a bit with them, helping one with his phone and letting him use my phone to text someone. After saying our goodbyes, we made our way to the theatre, where I had ordered tickets for the Terry Fator show. I was fortunate to get something in the center section, and the show ended up being sold out. It was a lot of fun. He is a ventriloquist who does impressions and sings alone as well, and it was full of both hilarious and touching moments. First time we’ve actually taken the time to see a show in Vegas! Long overdue, and a nice treat. The show went from 7-9, so we were back at the hotel in plenty of time to have a brandy and settle down for the night.

Sunday, May 12, 2013 – Shop and Relax Day

Had a pretty bad night’s sleep. I don’t know if it was eating dinner so late (at least it seemed late, with the three hour time change), or the coffee, or the drinks, or what it was, but I had a dickens of a time getting to sleep, and it was fitful all night long. I woke up every hour or so, and I could still hear a rattling from the AC every few minutes, even greater than the regular rattling from it just going on. Unfortunately, the unit was built into the wall of the bedroom, so there was not escaping it. We finally went out to do some errands, including buying Hubby a new pair of (larger) pants, because of the weight we’ve been putting on in the last few months. Serious diet once we get back to our old, usual routine!! Got back to the room, had maintenance come and fix the AC (a very nice fellow names Louis), so at least it didn’t have the extra rattle, and spent the rest of the day reading, sleeping and in the evening, watching a movie. Good thing we did, by the end of the day, I was feeling much more rested, and I have a very big day tomorrow!